Friday, 29 August 2014

Requirement cut would allow council to raise more infrastructure cash

Exeter rapped for cuts to affordable housing

Exeter Council has become the latest local authority to come under fire from a planning inspector for attempting to cut its affordable housing requirements in order to raise more cash from a development tax.

A note from planning inspector Jill Kingaby to Exeter Council revealed the authority had issued a supplementary planning document to cut the level of affordable housing it required in developments from 35 to 25 per cent in February.

This was because the authority believed it would not be able to raise any money through the community infrastructure levy - a tax used to pay for non-housing infrastructure - on these housing sites unless the affordable housing requirement was reduced. The council also told Ms Kingaby it depended on the levy to deliver projects outlined in its core strategy document.

Exeter proposed the reduction when it wrote its draft charging schedule for CIL - less than six months after it had adopted the core strategy which specified the 35 per cent affordable housing requirement.

In the note, Ms Kingaby said: ‘This swift change in the council’s position as to what would constitute a viable level of affordable housing is very surprising.’

She explained that policies in a supplementary planning document must not conflict with the council’s adopted development plan. She said her rough calculations indicated that many schemes could have made some degree of levy payment while still providing 35 per cent affordable housing.

The council expects Ms Kingaby’s final report ‘within the coming months’. She may ask the council to make changes to the CIL document, such as charging the levy on greenfield but not some urban sites while retaining the 35 per cent affordable housing requirement.

A spokesperson for the council said it is preparing a further submission to the examination. It will respond once the final report is available.

In March Mid Devon Council was similarly censured for working out its CIL requirements using a 22.5 per cent affordable housing requirement rather than its 35 per cent policy target.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Pick a number, any number, now pick another number, any number will do, just make it all up.

    The LDP process is a waste of time and money.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The reduction of affordable housing to 25% has enabled developers to swiftly implement planning applications and to commence the delivery of new housing without the need for lengthy viability assessments for S106 requirements negotiated in different economic conditions.
    Currently, planning permission (full and outline) has been granted for 3,772 homes which will provide 885 on site affordable homes, plus substantial commuted sums for off-site affordable homes. A large number of these schemes have already commenced on site which will shortly provide new homes for sale on the open market and much need affordable homes.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters

Related

Articles

  • BPF calls for landbanking review

    5 March 2014

    The British Property Federation has called for a review of landbanking before implementing ‘a use it or lose it’ policy, in its response to the Labour Party’s Lyons Review.

  • Squeezed out

    27/06/2014

    The number of homes delivered under section 106 obligations is falling. Nick Johnstone examines why affordable housing is feeling the pinch

  • Changes to CIL will not deliver homes, say developers

    23 April 2014

    Government changes to the community infrastructure levy and section 106 regime will not deliver more homes, 75 per cent of developers polled at a recent seminar said.

  • CIL relief

    6 January 2014

    Proposed changes to the community infrastructure levy are a relief for registered providers, writes Kate Silverman

  • Government pushes back deadline for restriction on section 106 pooling

    28 October 2013

    The government has moved back its deadline to restrict councils’ ability to pool section 106 payments in response to industry concerns.

Resources

  • The magic formula

    13/09/2013

    New business models may be key to unlocking council housing development.

  • Downsizing with the bedroom tax

    17 July 2014

    The price for underoccupying a home is high for many vulnerable people. Jess McCabe visits Stoke-on-Trent to find out how landlords are attempting to help

  • The prefab way

    28/02/2014

    Hammersmith & Fulham Council is erecting pre-fabricated homes and Brighton has turned to shipping containers, Lydia Stockdale reports

  • Fighting back

    01//11/2013

    As the private rented sector continues to grow, so does the number of problematic landlords. Michael Pooler finds out how tenants are taking matters into their own hands to fight for better conditions

  • Reaching crisis point

    02/05/2014

    Tenants on the verge of eviction are being helped to remain in their homes by a recently formed social enterprise that is saving their landlords significant sums in the process. Daniel Douglas finds out how

IH Subscription